New Research Shows How Sleep Could Ward Off Alzheimer's Disease
Our brains need rest and sleep. Our brains are actually very busy while we sleep, that is if it is good quality sleep.
“Without good-quality sleep, those critical activities don’t take place, and as a consequence, we don’t just feel tired and cranky, but the processes that lead to certain diseases may even get seeded.” - Alice Park -TIME USA
Over the past several years newer technologies for measuring and tracking brain activity, scientists have defined the biological processes that occur during good-quality sleep. That they seem to be essential for lowering the risk of brain disorders, from the forgetfulness of senior moments to the more serious memory loss and cognitive decline of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Since there is at this time no real treatments many experts are very interested in how sleep can slow the onset of Alzheimer’s or possibly even prevent it.
“There has been a real renaissance in research around the connection between sleep, sleep quality, sleep disturbance and dementia, especially Alzheimer’s dementia,” says Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco.
The National Institutes of Health is currently funding at least half a dozen new studies exploring how sleep may impact dementia. According to Dr. Yaffe’s recent research, which focused on a group of healthy older women, supported was the idea that what seemed to matter, in terms of dementia risk: the quality as opposed to the quantity of sleep. Those who reported spending less time in bed actually sleeping, and more time tossing and turning and waking up throughout the night, were more likely to develop any type of dementia five to 10 years later than those who got better quality sleep.
With new technologies for measuring and tracking brain activity while we sleep, scientists have defined the biological processes that occur during good-quality sleep. Brain activity that seems to be essential for lowering the risk of brain disorders, from the forgetfulness of senior moments to the more serious memory loss and cognitive decline of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. With regard to the field of Alzheimer’s disease, scientist and doctors are excited, since there are currently no treatments for the neurodegenerative disease, and sleep-based strategies might open new ways to slow its progression in some and possibly prevent it in others.
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